How not to be a lousy deck cadet

As a future competent ship officer, the deck or engine cadet is exposed to difficult situations during his apprenticeship. But once he overcomes the challenges, he eventually shines bright like a diamond.

He may be commonly regarded by his fellow crew as the ‘lowest mammal’ on board, and yet everyone around expects a lot from him. He has no choice but to carry on climbing the ladder of success, even sometimes he feels like King Kong climbing up the peak of the Empire State building while being gunned down.

Sadly, some promising cadets break themselves in the process. Perhaps it’s the culture shock that brought them to their knees.

One example is yours truly.

During my cadetship, I made a lot of terrible mistakes. Being fallible, I broke some confidence and good relationships on board. I didn’t have sea legs during my first year at sea. I suffered from depression, and almost quit.

Fortunately, I was promoted even I started off shabby. Needless to say, I should have performed better during my apprenticeship. Anyway, that’s a thing from my past. At least now I know how not to be a lousy cadet. Lol

Since I can’t be a stellar example, I invited someone to inspire you today.

Do you want to be remarkable? Read on!

A model cadet


I am Jake Paras, 22 years old. I already completed the 3-year academic requirements leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation (BSMT). I am deck cadet right now here on board MT Zenith Spirit of Teekay Corporation.

I am the eldest son of my parents. My father died when I was 5 years old. So right now, my family is considering me as the breadwinner. So I need to work hard for them.
Way back in college, I was 4 times top 1 amongst the college students in the province of Bataan, consistent top 1 of Central Luzon College of Science and Technology – Olongapo City, and 8 times one of the top 30 of Iskolar ng Bataan.

I won different school, division, regional and national level competitions.

I am graduating soon, and a candidate for Summa Cum Laude.

Actually, I almost gave-up my apprenticeship due to a medical issue. My embarkation was delayed for 5 months until I was cured. Luckily, I didn’t quit, and in December 2017, I finally embarked my first ship.

Since then, all things became worthy for me. What a life, really.

What an awesome self-introduction, isn’t it?

And here’s one more cool fact about Jake!

He was awarded the “Operational Leadership Award” by his company, his first ever ‘International Award’ early May this year.




Let’s get to know more our #lodi on this quick Q&A.

1. Who motivates you to go the distance?

Of course my mother, she sacrifices everything for us, her kids. To raise us was really hard. She is a real superhero. I love my mother. She’s strong and brave enough to fight even there are so many challenges she’s facing.

Nagmomotivate din sakin yung pangarap ko ( I am also motivated by my dream) to become one of the best ships’ captains in the world.

My ultimate dream is to become one of the best ships’ captains in the world. We cannot tell about the future but I believe, I will be there at the right time and at the right place.

2. Tell us something about your “Operational Leadership Award”.

Of all the awards, achievements and competitions which I emerged victorious, this award is the most memorable one and cannot be forgotten for this is my first ever international award. It is very overwhelming that I got this award. Like I said, out of many ships and people of different ranks and nationalities on board, I was able to win this award.

Actually, I have no idea why I was chosen. As what they said to me (people here on this ship from captain to ratings) I really deserve this award. This is the fruit of all my hard work, patience and perseverance. Rank doesn’t matter of becoming an excellent leader to others. Everyone can be an influencer of excellent doings.

I will treasure this award for the rest of my life.

3. I see you’re you are working with Indians and Chinese nationals at sea. How do you manage yourself to grow more as a mature person?

Yes, here on this ship, we are of different nationalities but we work as one team. The mere fact that we don’t have our own family on board, the best way to surpass this homesickness is to treat everyone on board as your family.

Some points of your lifestyle suddenly changed because you are living and working together with other nationalities but the good thing about it is that you became the person who is a cultural diversified as you adapt, accept and live with each other’s differences.

4. You’re a smart person. Why of all the professions, you chose seafaring?

I don’t know why also! Haha. When I was in high school I wanted to become an Accountant or a Math teacher. But after I graduated high school, I stopped for 1 year. Aside from financial problem, I was really undecided what course I was going to take. And then, I enrolled BSMT at Central Luzon College of Science and Technology where I became Top 1 in the Academic Scholars from 1st year up to completion of the academic requirements of my course. I started to love this career as my school time passed by.

5. Being a front runner, how would you like to inspire your fellow cadets?

I would like to leave this quote “Create the highest and grandest vision for your life, because you become what you believe”.

I believe that I will become one of the ships’ captains in the world no matter how hard, no matter how long it will take and no matter how many problems may arise as I take my journey to success, I will keep on fighting and striving for it.

Always give you best shots in everything you do. Study and learn new things every single day. Do not waste time for not valuable things – Be productive!

Keep on motivating yourself when you’re feeling down. Struggles are no excuses for giving up on your dreams.

Lastly, your future is in your hand. Be strong enough facing the challenges in life.
Remember that no matter how hard you’ve gone through just keep on fighting for your dreams and one day, all you hardships will pay off.

Good luck to all of you guys. I am wishing you all the best in your future endeavors.

So, how not to be lousy cadet?

In my own opinion, you don’t have to copy-paste someone else. Rather, why not write the best version of your own success story?

Mind you as well that to achieve our goals, we have to keep ourselves inspired.

If you’re looking for someone who can inspire you, I think you have me as a horrible warning, and Jake here as a very good example! 😂

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Photos screen grab from Facebook/Jake Paras.

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1 reply »

  1. I’m 22 years old too and I’m a 2nd mate here in domestic. Next month I’ll be taking my Chief mate license, and still @ 22. Got my OIC license when I was just 20. Just saying. Lol


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